Some food labels include information that relates to people’s personal values or ethics, such as:
- religious reasons (eg. ‘kosher', 'halal’)
- environmental concerns (eg. carbon footprint labelling)
- animal welfare concerns (eg. ‘dolphin friendly’)
- human rights issues (eg. fair trade, child labour).
The Food Authority does not enforce these types of food labelling.
Businesses can voluntarily provide this kind of information on the labels of their food products, as long as the information is not false, misleading or deceptive under Australian Consumer Law.
Descriptions like 'organic', 'bio-dynamic', 'biological', 'ecological' or similar words can be used on any food sold on the domestic market.
Generally they refer to food that has been grown or produced without any contact with artificial fertilisers and chemicals.
There is no mandatory requirement for the certification of organic products sold in Australia however, products labelled ‘certified organic’ must be certified by an Australian certification organisation and carry a symbol or trademark to indicate it has met the necessary requirements.
'Vegan' means no animal products are present in the food. There are currently no certification schemes for vegan food sold in Australia. However, businesses can apply to the UK Vegan Society to use their trademark symbol on Australian products.
'Free range' broadly means the animal or animal product, eg. eggs, has been farmed in an outdoor environment.
Free range meat certification in Australia is provided by private certification bodies. There are a number accreditation schemes for free range eggs. See > Understanding Claims > Free range
'Kosher' refers to food that has been prepared and/or processed according to kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Kosher certification in Australia is provided by kosher certification bodies.
'Halal' refers to food that has been prepared and/or processed according to Islamic law. Halal certification in Australia is provided by halal certification bodies.